Children have been kept active in schools and at home with exercise videos and health resources from Burnley Leisure.
The support for children, schools and families is part of Burnley Leisure’s wide-ranging work throughout the past 12 months to support people’s physical and mental health through the covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions.
Since the pandemic began, Burnley Leisure staff have created free fitness workout videos and wellbeing sessions for the community, helped the Burnley Together network to support residents with everyday needs and, more recently led the roll-out of regular covid-19 testing for people at work.
Fitness videos on social media have been hugely successful in the pandemic and gained a regular following. A recent programme of videos has been aimed at getting school children active through the winter lockdown period, when bad weather and short daylight hours added to the restrictions in keeping active.
Neil Hutchinson, Head of Group Operations at Burnley Leisure, said: “The many weeks of lockdown have been especially difficult for children. Many have missed hours of PE lessons, physical play, sports clubs and other activities they would normally take part in, along with normal daily activity such as walking and cycling to school.
“We recognised this problem and wanted to offer more help to children at school or home. We were also approached by one local school for help. Our fitness instructors’ team, led by Rebecca McDevitt, quickly responded with new workout videos along with hosting three live family workouts on Facebook. These were really popular.
“We then had requests from other schools so we made the videos and streamed sessions available for all local schools through Burnley Schools Sports Partnership. This is another example of us working together to support the community through difficult times.”
The family fitness routines included skipping, dancing, jumping, boxing, stretching, balancing, body weight exercises and basic cardio routines – all at moderate intensity. These help to improve mobility, balance, coordination and body awareness.
They also educate children about healthy living and the physical and mental benefits from getting that all-important ‘feel-good’ factor through activity. The routines, experiences and knowledge will also benefit the children into the future as adults.
Helen Tyson, from Burnley Schools Sports Partnership, said: “The UK Chief Medical Officers recommended children should have 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day. This includes all forms of activity such as informal play, sports, walking, cycling and after-school activities. But during the first national covid lockdown last year, less than 50 per cent of children met the recommended 60 minutes. With short days and poor weather during the latest winter lockdown, these rates are likely to have been less.
“At Burnley School Sports Partnership, one of our main areas of work is around encouraging children to achieve their 60 active minutes a day. Being able to access high-quality local resources and opportunities is vital. The Burnley Leisure fitness sessions have been a brilliant asset for schools, parents and families. Schools are using the Burnley Leisure routines with pupils in school, as a ‘wake-and-shake’ activity to start the day, and with pupils and families at home for school PE activities.
“Many people are already familiar with Burnley Leisure staff. So, when instructors give ‘shout-outs’ to schools during the live sessions, it adds real value by making children feel special and important. It’s a winning formula when motivating young people to be active. We want to thank Burnley Leisure.”
Adam Booth, a teacher and PE coordinator at Whittlefield Junior School, said: “Burnley Leisure have provided fun ‘wake-and-shake’ exercise videos to help encourage pupils and families to do physical activity at home and school. Children and adults found the videos to be fun, achievable and entertaining. The instructors tailored the videos for abilities and the resources are very accessible. We really appreciate the effort that Burnley Leisure have put into creating the videos – not only for our school but for the whole community.”
Angela Clough from St John the Baptist School in Padiham said: “We’ve recently added a mental health page to our school website and know that keeping on top of physical health helps our mental health tremendously. We are trying to support everyone’s health, especially during school closures. With the Burnley Leisure resources, we love being able to link-up with something so local and hope this will encourage children to stay active after the pandemic is over too.”
Richard Steele, the school’s PE Coordinator, added: “These fitness resources really help keep the children engaged, happy and healthy, especially through this pandemic. I’ve loved doing the activities with the kids. It’s helped us cope with what’s happening around us.”.